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Presumption of Innocence (David Brunelle Legal Thriller Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Penner
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.85
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

Homicide prosecutor David Brunelle faces the most difficult case of his career. An innocent young girl is murdered in a heinous, unforgivable way. The only evidence against the killer is the full confession of his accomplice--another young girl he also victimized. But the accomplice is charged with the murder as well, which means she has the right to remain silent. And she's so scared of the killer, she refuses to take a deal to testify against him. Brunelle can't just let the murderer walk, but how can he get a conviction when he has no admissible evidence and the killer is protected by the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE?

Editorial Reviews


Penner is at least on par with John Grisham regarding accuracy of the rules of evidence in a criminal trial and trial procedure. Penner comes out ahead, in my opinion, in that he doesn't misstate legal rules for dramatic effect the way Grisham sometimes does. -Amazon Reader Review

I just finished The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly and Connelly's courtroom scenes and legal procedure pale compared to Penner's book. Penner's writing is approaching the driving, got-to-keep-reading style of Connelly's. This is an excellent and fun book. -Amazon Reader Review

I really enjoyed this novel. It has everything I look for in a legal thriller: a character I can cheer for, some humor, some suspense, court room surprises, legal strategies, cross examinations, and an unexpected witness. The character of David Brunelle is very well written. I loved it! -Amazon Reader Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 883 KB
  • Print Length: 246 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008GUMJO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,878 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great criminal trial novel July 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Penner is at least on par with Grisham regarding accuracy) of the rules of evidence in a criminal trial and trial procedure. Penner comes out ahead, in my opinion, in that he doesn't misstate legal rules for dramatic effect the way Grisham sometimes does.

The writing is tight, the pace is consistent. I would like to have seen a little more character development. The female characters were defined chiefly by their body type and style of clothing.

The male lead character is a senior assistant district district attorney tasked with the prosecution of a guilty murder defendant with no physical evidence and his only witness is a juvenile co-defendant. The rules protecting a defendant from being forced to give testimony against one's interest would prevent that co-defendant/witness from giving evidence, whether they are tried together or seperately. This is further complicated by the juvenile issue. Penner does an excellent job of describing the legal issues that confront his hero.

In classic form, the day is saved by a surprise witness that the hero is able to put up because name was on the witness list given to the defense, but neither side expected this person to be called!

But that is not the heart-stopping conclusion that I won't reveal.

Overall, it is a great read. The legal issues are accurately presented. My minor caveates aside, I still recommend the book highly and look forward to other titles from Mr. Penner.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG!!! June 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In all honesty, I had borrowed one of Stephen's books on Prime 3 days ago. Just 3 days ago. This review goes for all of his books, not just this one - as soon as I finished the borrowed book - I IMMEDIATELY purchased all his other books in this series starring David Brunnelle:
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Case Theory
Presumption of Innocence
Tribal Court
By Reason of Insanity
EVERY book a winner.
EVERY book fabulously written.
EVERY book will keep you reading.
EVERY Book is going to stay in my Kindle library because great books are meant to be kept and not discarded.
I just raved about him to my sister yesterday - she started and finished one book already and she could not believe how great a read it was either. She is ready for the next book - the sooner the better she said.
Each story is so good. I love the main characters already. I can speak of them as if they are my best friends or friends that I just met but feel like I have known them forever.
I am going to put this same review on every one of his books that I have read, so everyone who loves a well-written story with crime and police and court proceedings knows how truly great these books are!!
The crimes are original as is the storylines. All the characters are believable. You hate the ones you are supposed to and love the ones you should.
Open your kindle to Stephen Penner - YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Burnelle Mystery July 9, 2012
By Sprtsgy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read two short stories with this character, I was really excited about the novel. And it did not disappoint. I love mysteries heavy on legal procedures. Penner's background as an attorney gives it great legitimacy. If you like "Law and Order," you'll love this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable. June 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book. It was an excellent suspense novel with a great ending. As a retired King County Prosecutor I did note one error - prosecutors in King County - are not referred to as district attorneys. They are deputy prosecutors or senior deputy prosecutors.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book September 9, 2013
By Nancy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think this is one of Penner's best. I don't care for reviews that read like eighth grade book reports, so I'm not going to sum up the whole plot. It's a courtroom drama. It's cleverly done and keeps you reading through the night...and the next night, too. I particularly like the way Penner describes court scenes. He doesn't insult the readers' intelligence with too much explanation, just enough to let you understand. This is a very good read.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot, but poorly written. May 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a good example of all that is bad about e-books. Anyone can write one and get it out there pretty easily. It is glaringly evident by all the grammar errors and typos that this book never saw an editor, much less a proofreader.

The constant distraction of numerous errata interrupts the flow of the plot and makes it hard to take Mr. Penner's writing seriously. That kind of attitude on the author's part shows an arrogant disrespect for his readers.

The author does show some promise, but the only way I would ever read anything else by him is if it were free. It would be interesting to see if Stephen Penner ever hones his skills and develops his talent.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fell apart August 30, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy legal thrillers and was looking forward to reading a new author. I was enjoying the book and then I got to the end and I thought it just fell apart. A surprise ending and then everything goes back to normal without explaining legally how the rest of the story unfolds. I won't be reading another book by this author.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not believable May 10, 2013
By DianeG
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book leads you through a court case where absolutely nothing is planned. Who will show up as witnesses is just a big guess, and the prosecuter is trying to figure out things as he goes along. I found it to be a frustrating read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Presumption of whose innocence
I'm sure I read this novel age ago but didn't remember it...not regretting having to read it again. Really good plot and even better ending - justice served.
Published 2 days ago by Lisa M.
4.0 out of 5 stars good legal drama
This was an interesting legal drama, along the lines of popular TV shows where you know some things just can't be... A good read, with humor, and not too much legal jargon. Read more
Published 3 days ago by BonusMom
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
will read more books by DaVID Brunelle
Published 6 days ago by James Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great book couldn't stop reading David Brunelle is my new favorite author
Am so excited to start the next book
Published 10 days ago by Michele R Liniger
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, I like Stephen Penner's courtroom drama!
I enjoyed the writing, felt sorrow for the parents of the victim, and loathed the defense attorney and his client. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Marybeth Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not stop reading this book !
A thrilling, spine tingling book. Very well written, with lots of twists and turns. I am going to read more of his books.
Published 20 days ago by kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good one
Enough outrage to get you involved, good plot, and enough courtroom theatrics to keep you hating defense attorneys. I like it. Just wish it wasn't such a quick read.
Published 21 days ago by DJB
4.0 out of 5 stars I like Nrunelle and the characters he works with
Interesting and entertaining. I like Nrunelle and the characters he works with.
Published 1 month ago by Laura Lowry
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The wasn't what i thought it would be.
Published 1 month ago by lynda
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Different take on lawyer stories with emphasis on proscuer's point of view.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Bowe
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More About the Author

Stephen Penner is an author, attorney, and adjunct law professor from Seattle, Washington.

Stephen began his legal career as a criminal defense attorney, appearing in federal, state, and municipal courts throughout the State of Washington. After several years of defense work, Stephen 'switched sides' and became a prosecutor. He has been prosecuting cases for over 16 years, working his way up from misdemeanor offenses, to felonies, and finally to homicides. He has tried nearly 100 cases and now supervises other prosecutors. In addition, he uses his extensive experience to teach trial advocacy to Seattle law students.

As an author, Stephen pens the David Brunelle legal thriller series, featuring Assistant D.A. David Brunelle and a recurring cast of cops, defense attorneys, and forensic experts. He also writes the Maggie Devereaux paranormal mysteries, recounting the exploits of an American graduate student in the magical Highlands of Scotland.

In his spare time, Stephen enjoys painting, drawing, and spending time with his family. For more information, visit his website

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